Timber has huge market potential to tap in the years ahead, and coming together behind its new industry organisation can ensure that potential is realised.

The new and long-awaited Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) launched to an enthusiastic audience at the Building Centre in London on June 10. It heralds a new era for the sector.

It’s been acknowledged for a while that our industry needs an umbrella organisation; one that represents the entire chain, from forest to end of life recycling and disposal, and can more effectively communicate its combined interests and value.

BRE chief executive Dr Peter Bonfield officially launched the CTI and in his keynote speech said timber had long needed a "stronger joined-up voice" and that the new organisation presented an opportunity to demonstrate the sector’s combined strengths and showcase its potential.

"The industry needs to move to the top of the agenda with specifiers, designers and constructors and become a first choice construction product," he said. "So this is an historic day, which we should all embrace to make CTI the success we all need it to be."

The CTI will represent producers, manufacturers and distributors of timber and wood-based products from a broad membership including large multinational companies, as well as key trade associations across the wider industry supply chain.

The timber sector already contributes substantially to the UK construction and manufacturing industries, providing jobs across the skills spectrum and adding £20bn of value to the UK economy. The CTI will focus on a number of key projects to influence the further development and growth of wood based products in construction, housing and interiors markets, while at the same time highlighting the material’s low carbon benefits.

Understanding market growth prospects and competitive pressures towards 2025/30 will be a key project for the CTI and its members. We will work together to map and assess the current value and future potential of the entire industry supply chain.

The research and development and application of science needed to develop the use of timber and wood products also demand a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce industry-wide and this demand will increase as the UK population and size of the marketplace grows. Consequently CTI needs to ensure that timber leads the way in knowledge and skills building to service the requirements of the 21st century construction and related industries.

So this is a significant moment to see the industry combining forces behind a shared growth agenda that will also range beyond timber in construction, to other markets and sectors, from the paper industries, to furniture manufacturing.

Therefore we welcome all companies, organisations and associations with an interest in the timber supply chain, in whatever form, to help CTI develop this future strategy and strengthen a voice that will encourage the industry to grow and be more productive.

The new UK government has a huge agenda, which includes tackling a significant construction and housing challenge.

Through the CTI, we need to show a consolidated approach in how we can contribute; explaining the central role we can play in helping meet the country’s construction and wider market growth agenda, while successfully developing a truly low carbon economy.